Early Alert system results in real student success!

The college’s Early Alert Steering Committee is excited to report that after a one-year pilot, more Columbus State students completed their classes and succeeded with a “C” or above when their instructors utilized the Early Alert system. While Early Alert data indicates positive results across all modalities, preliminary data shows the greatest impact is on hybrid and distance learning courses. During spring 2013, student success rose by 10% and withdrawal rates were cut in half in hybrid courses, as indicated by the chart below.


“The Early Alert System has proven to be a powerful tool for faculty and students in distance education. It provided our faculty with a way to reach those students most at risk and get them back on track,” stated Tom Erney, Dean of Distance Education & Instructional Support (DEIS).

An early alert system predicts and identifies students who may be at risk of failure in specific courses. The system provides early intervention/preventative actions to increase student awareness of tutoring and support services that are available at the college. Early Alert, nicknamed FOCUS by students, is a project of the college’s Title III grant.

The Early Alert Steering Committee, led by Teddi Lewis-Hotopp, is made up of cross-department, cross-functional staff mostly from the Delaware campus. Starfish was selected as the resource due to its ease of use, integration with our existing systems, cost, flexibility, and ability to send kudos to students who do well, in addition to warning notices.

Eleven courses chosen for the first pilot in 2012 yielded positive results. By Spring 2013, with the continued help and support of the Early Alert Steering Committee, DEIS, faculty, staff, and administrators, there were 325 active sections in the Early Alert system.

“We are thrilled with the participation of faculty, advisors, and staff in using FOCUS, powered by Starfish,” Teddi Lewis-Hotopp said. “With your help and support, we are beginning to see the fruits of your efforts and the impact on student success and retention. Thank you all for your continued help and support as we expand the system.”

FOCUS became available college-wide on May 1, 2013. For more information on setting up Early Alert in your course or department, please contact Teddi Lewis-Hotopp, or Megan McWilliams at 287-5104.

Posted by Heather Crites on Friday, June 28, 2013 at 1:14 PM

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